In the event of an emergency such as a fire, a well-devised plan which is carried about by competent individuals who are fully aware of their responsibilities and tasks can be the difference between life and death as it will facilitate an efficient and therefore speedier evacuation of the premises to get everyone to safety.
Assisting with a fire evacuation will be fire marshals. These should be pre-approved persons (i.e. not delegated with the task whilst a fire blazes around you!) who will carry out certain functions such as sweeping/checking areas of the building to ensure that everybody is out and clear of that particular area and are not trapped or simply ignoring the alarm.
As well as performing fire sweeps of the premises, fire marshals will also assist with the evacuation procedure. Depending upon the circumstances, people will have various emotions. Some may feel it is a false alarm, particularly if this happens fairly frequently, whilst others may be frightened if they can actually see a fire or smoke in the building. Their emotions may be hampering the escape effort if they are dawdling on panicking for example, and so it is the responsibility of the fire marshal to assist in providing clear instructions and to facilitate an orderly but speedy and efficient evacuation of the premises. Whilst workers should have received health and safety training and be aware of the fire procedures of the company, there may be visitors such as those who have come for a meeting who may not be familiar with where to go in the event of a fire, and these people may need assisting and directions.
Fire marshals should not only be appointed before a fire has started, but they should also be made known to workers in advance so that they know who to look to for instructions. Fire marshals who are made clearly visible such as wearing designated high-visibility clothing will enable people to easily identify them and know that they should be able to rely on the instructions and directions which they are providing.